As a result of the disruption in family and social ties during the Pol Pot era, rapid modernization, ongoing poverty, and limited opportunities to improve the quality of life, psychosocial problems are common for many Cambodians.
Today, the Social and Mental Health Services Program (SMHS) provides community-based mental health services and support to the people living in rural Kampong Speu province.
The SMHS Program has a client-centered, strengths-based approach with the goal of developing each client’s individual ability to solve or better cope with the issues they face. As with all SSC programs, the SMHS staff practice a holistic approach to support by providing services to family and community members when necessary. SMHS Social Workers supported approximately 1,038 clients in the first quarter of 2008.
Besides pursuing it’s main goal of providing practical social services this program has developed into an important component of SSC’s trainings program.
It is in this rural area where SSC’s trainees receive their practical training, supervised by trainers and senior trainers, in accordance with theoretical lessons, making it a model for sustainable Social Work services and a source of constant learning, practicing and improving professional skills for trainees, trained Social Workers and trainers, which in return benefits clients and the community at large.
How Support and Services are provided:
Establishing Trust and Building Relationships
Trust and respect are essential to healing and begins during the initial meeting between SSC Social Worker and clients. SSC Social Workers meet clients in their home and complete a thorough assessment to better understand the context in which the clients live and the issues they faces.
Clients, Family and Community
Social Work staff encourages the self-discovery and development of each client by providing an opportunity for each client to express themselves and be heard. Clients are encouraged and supported in the development and examination of options available to address their problems. Clients are then supported in taking steps to resolve each issue to the best of their ability.
When the issues clients face involve family or community members, SSC staff provides education and support to everyone involved, striving for a better quality of life for all.
SSC staff continues to support each client, their family and community members as solutions to problems are implemented.
Although SSC’s work is primarily carried out through conversation, counseling and referrals to appropriate community agencies, there are times when direct financial assistance is necessary. While the grants are not large, they can mean an improved quality of life which may not be possible otherwise.
An average of 7 new clients are referred to the SMHS program each month. Referrals come from self, family or community members or other community. Similarly, SMHS refers clients to community agencies and institutions for continued support, including:
prosthetics and orthotics
hearing and vision
If clients are unable to transport themselves to referring agencies or institutions, the SMHS program will provide this transport. All SMHS services are free of charge to our clients, families and community members.
SMHS social work staffs continue to follow and support their clients while they receive services from outside community agencies.
The Social Work staff review their case load every six month. This includes reviewing the client’s initial assessment, stated needs and the current intervention. Social Workers determine whether changes need to be made in the type or frequency of the support currently being provided. Continual review of the progress each client makes assists the SMHS staff to ensure the client will ultimately reach his or her stated goal.
For clients who have achieved their stated goals, SMHS support may no longer be necessary.
For clients who continue to require support over the long-term, SMHS Social Workers continue to provide the necessary support and services to their clients, their families and community members, continuing to strive for an improved quality of life for all.
Currently, the Program includes six local Social Workers (a number of them are experienced Social Work trainers) and a program manager who provides supervision to staff Social Workers.
Benefits of Community-Based Support
Traditionally, social service delivery in Cambodia consisted of handouts from the rich to the poor, advice-giving from those in positions of authority or provision of shelter and food through Buddhist monks. Little has been done to find sustainable solutions for severe problems which demand professional, reliable and continuing support.
By providing support in client’s homes, Social Workers can gain better access and visibility to the entire community, support clients and their families and are able to advocate understanding and acceptance for this untraditional method of support. Community members then have an opportunity to learn about the services offered by SSC and the SMHS program. They will better understand the role of the Social Worker as well as their own individual role in supporting those with whom they live who need special help and gradually change their behavior towards people which are having mental, psychological or psychosomatic problems.
- Listen carefully to them.
- Let them express their emotions.
- Show you are interested by asking questions about their problem or situation.
- Show you are listening when they talk.
- Do not try to solve their problems for them.
- Do not judge or blame them for what is happening to them.
- Confidentiality (keeping their secrets).
- Make contact with them while they are having difficulty
For further Information please contact Kompong Speu Office